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Hubble Space Telescope Paschen α survey of the Galactic Centre: data reduction and products

Dong, H. and Wang, Q. D. and Cotera, A. and Stolovy, S. and Morris, M. R. and Mauerhan, J. and Mills, E. A. and Schneider, G. and Calzetti, D. and Lang, C. (2011) Hubble Space Telescope Paschen α survey of the Galactic Centre: data reduction and products. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 417 (1). pp. 114-135. ISSN 0035-8711.

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Our Hubble Space Telescope/Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (HST/NICMOS) Paschen α survey of the Galactic Centre, first introduced by Wang et al., provides a uniform, panoramic, high-resolution map of stars and an ionized diffuse gas in the central 416 arcmin^2 of the Galaxy. This survey was carried out with 144 HST orbits using two narrow-band filters at 1.87 and 1.90 μm in NICMOS Camera 3. In this paper, we describe in detail the data reduction and mosaicking procedures followed, including background level matching and astrometric corrections. We have detected ~570 000 near-infrared (near-IR) sources using the ‘starfinder’ software and are able to quantify photometric uncertainties of the detections. The source detection limit varies across the survey field, but the typical 50 per cent completion limit is ~17th magnitude (Vega system) in the 1.90 μm band. A comparison with the expected stellar magnitude distribution shows that these sources are primarily main-sequence massive stars (≳7 M_⊙) and evolved lower mass stars at the distance of the Galactic Centre. In particular, the observed source magnitude distribution exhibits a prominent peak, which could represent the red clump (RC) stars within the Galactic Centre. The observed magnitude and colour of these RC stars support a steep extinction curve in the near-IR towards the Galactic Centre. The flux ratios of our detected sources in the two bands also allow for an adaptive and statistical estimate of extinction across the field. With the subtraction of the extinction-corrected continuum, we construct a net Paschen α emission map and identify a set of Paschen α emitting sources, which should mostly be evolved massive stars with strong stellar winds. The majority of the identified Paschen α point sources are located within the three known massive Galactic Centre stellar clusters. However, a significant fraction of our Paschen α emitting sources are located outside the clusters and may represent a new class of ‘field’ massive stars, many of which may have formed in isolation and/or in small groups. The maps and source catalogues presented here are available electronically.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Morris, M. R.0000-0002-6753-2066
Mills, E. A.0000-0001-8782-1992
Schneider, G.0000-0002-4511-5966
Calzetti, D.0000-0002-5189-8004
Additional Information:© 2011 The Authors. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS. Accepted 2011 May 5. Received 2011 May 4; in original form 2010 December 4. Article first published online: 14 Sep. 2011. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the staff at the STScI for helping in the data reduction and analysis. We thank the referee, Paco Najarro, for useful suggestions about the RC stars and the extinction curve towards the GC. Support for program HST-GO-11120 was provided by NASA through a grant from the STScI, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under the NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANAS 5-26555
Subject Keywords: catalogues; surveys; stars: formation; Galaxy: centre; infrared: stars
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111121-110852240
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Official Citation:Dong, H., Wang, Q. D., Cotera, A., Stolovy, S., Morris, M. R., Mauerhan, J., Mills, E. A., Schneider, G., Calzetti, D. and Lang, C. (2011), Hubble Space Telescope Paschen α survey of the Galactic Centre: data reduction and products. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 417: 114–135. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19013.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27890
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:21 Nov 2011 21:02
Last Modified:02 Nov 2019 20:13

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